LHC seeks Punjab AG help in LG representatives case | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has sought legal assistance from Punjab advocate general on local government representatives’ petitions for the extension of their tenures, which was interrupted when the provincial government had dissolved local bodies in May 2019.

Lord Mayor of Lahore Col (retd) Mubashir Javed, along with other local government representatives, moved the LHC seeking to serve their full five years term.

The local governments were restored last March after a two year-long legal battle, when the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment struck down their dissolution as illegal and unlawful. Tenures of local governments end on December 31.

The petitioners were represented at the LHC by Nawazish Ali Pirzada and former law minister Dr Khalid Ranjha, who argued that the local governments formed under Article 140-A of the Constitution should be given the time that was lost during their dissolution under the 2019 Local Governments Act, and that the expiry of their term in January 2022 should be stayed.

Appearing for one of the LG representatives, Barrister Asad Rahim Khan argued that the local governments had a legitimate expectation to serve the public interest of their constituents, and that its denial went against the doctrine of democracy and Article 17.

He pointed to LHC judge Justice Jawad Hassan’s recent ruling in the Jamshed Iqbal Cheema case, concerning scrutiny of the PTI candidate’s nomination forms in the NA-133 by-election.

Also read: LG Act 2021 draft sent to law dept

While hearing the petition, Justice Hassan issued notice to the Punjab advocate general to answer the legal questions that arose, and also sought comments from the Punjab government.

“Since the petitioners have prayed that the term of office of a local government found under Article 140-A of the Constitution read with provisions of Section 30 of the Act of 2013 should be provided to them and the time/period excluded due to the enactment of the Act of 2019 be added in tenure term to complete its five years, therefore, notice under Order XXVII-A C.P.C. shall be issued to the learned Advocate-General Punjab to respond to legal questions raised in this petition.”

The bench asked the advocate general to submit the report and parawise comments on behalf of all the local governments in Punjab. The hearing of the case was adjourned until December 15.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior lawyer said it was a test case in the LHC to “safeguard democratic tenure of elected local governments”.




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